In remarks to the Environmental Grantmakers Association earlier this week, Fred Kirschenmann (of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture) identified 5 challenges that will profoundly affect our agriculture and food systems:
- The end of cheap energy.
- The end of stable climate.
- No more surplus fresh water.
- Diminishing reserves of biodiversity.
- Depleted biological health of our soils.
The full discussion was based on Wendell Berry’s insight that “How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.” The other speakers were Anya Fernald, Director of Live Culture Co., and Nikki Henderson, Executive Director of People’s Grocery. I recorded Fred’s introductory remarks, which run about 6 and a half minutes. The person talking at the very beginning is Dr. Bob Lawrence, Director of the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University.